While California Governor Gavin Newsom said police would not regulate order across the state, Connecticut governor Ned Lamont said residents of his state could be fined for choosing to ignore the signs.
“Every state will do this,” CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem said on Friday. “People have to prepare for this to become more difficult before it becomes easier.”
President Donald Trump did not plan to issue national residence orders, he said on Friday. Days earlier, the federal government issued guidelines for a “15-day break” asking Americans to avoid public meetings with more than 10 people, among other suggestions.
The “break” can last more than 15 days, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, in their guidelines.
A federal plan obtained by CNN includes preparations for a pandemic that could last 18 months or more and include “multiple waves of disease”.
The reported cases go up while thousands more are tested
In the past few weeks, the number of cases reported in the United States has increased as the virus spreads and more and more patients are tested.
Nearly 8,000 tests were conducted overnight, said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has the largest number of cases from the state with over 8,000 testing positive.
In total, the United States may have tested approximately 170,000 people so far, Dr Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force response, told CNN.
“I know that in general our positivity rate is between 9% and 11%,” said Birx. “If 90% is negative, you can calculate how many tests we’ve done.”
There are now over 18,000 confirmed cases in the United States.
And Birx said he expects the numbers to rise sharply in the coming days as labs run a backlog of tests.
Improvised masks and hospitals
But as the numbers rise, health workers and state leaders have raised the alarm for medical supplies starting to run low.
In New York City, now the epicenter of the epidemic in the United States, Mayor Bill de Blasio asked Trump for help and said supplies could only last for the next few weeks.
“I said very clearly that for the month of March we have the supplies we need, the city has very strong reservations about the type of supplies I have talked about,” he said. “I am worried in April. I don’t have the perfect day for you. We are evaluating all the time, but it is a day – in two weeks or three weeks – where we had to have had a very substantial supply by then.”
This includes the reuse of masks and the use of “homemade ones” from materials such as bandanas and scarves.
Hospitals across the country have already reported that they had to be creative on how to make multiple masks and make them last longer.
Some have also moved to improvised hospitals, with a Washington state community preparing to open a 200-bed hospital on a football pitch. And it’s Blasio said his city will use “every building we can … to essentially become annexed to hospitals”.
“Supplies are a big deal – (personal protective equipment), gloves, clothes, mask suppliers,” said Cuomo on Friday. “Now I ask all product suppliers, all companies operating in this sector, that we will pay a premium for these products.”
Some facilities, including in New York, have also dramatically increased fan orders. Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, was chosen by the governor of New York to lead a hospital emergency response team. He said he wants to purchase up to 500 fans, which can cost anywhere from $ 20,000 to $ 40,000 per machine.
The United States is unprepared, experts say
The coronavirus epidemic in Italy – where there are more hospital beds per 1,000 people than in the United States – could signal a lack of preparation in the United States, according to the comment published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Although the Italian healthcare system is highly valued and has 3.2 hospital beds per 1,000 people (compared to 2.8 in the United States), it has been impossible to meet the needs of so many critically ill patients at the same time,” he said. Dr. Lisa Rosenbaum, a cardiologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, wrote in the piece.
The United States is preparing “two months too late,” an expert at CNN said earlier this week.
“I really think this is a fundamental responsibility of the government that acted on this long ago,” said Dr. Eric Toner, who studies hospital preparation at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Shortages of staff are likely to come even before the equipment starts running out, said Dr. David Hill, an intensive care pulmonary physician and a spokesman for the American Lung Association.
“Part of this is exhausting our staff. Healthcare is complicated and people make mistakes when they are overworked,” said Hill.
If healthcare professionals get sick, “everything can fall apart very quickly,” says Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
Hotez is “particularly concerned now for our health care providers because we are starting to see even those people who get sick and are taken out of the workforce, or in some cases fall seriously ill. So here’s where everything can fall apart very quickly , “He said.
To combat a possible shortage, Georgia officials are moving to accelerate licenses for nursing professionals from other states to help stem the spread of the virus, said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
“Fighting, defeating and defeating coronavirus in Georgia and across the country will require the help of the best and brightest medical professionals available,” said Raffensperger in a press release.
And in New York and Connecticut, heads of state contacted retired doctors and nurses for help during the pandemic.
CNN’s Dianne Gallagher, Ben Tinker, Athena Jones, Mark Morales and Michael Nedelman contributed to this report.